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Is Simple Animation Coming Back?

If you miss those old-school animated films Walt Disney used to produce, look no further.

Judging by the trailer, the animation in Sony Pictures’ upcoming film, The Illusionist (PG) looks like a cross between anime and early 90’s Disney animation.

The Illusionist, scheduled for limited release Dec. 25, is written and directed by French animator Sylvain Chomet . The film is based on an unproduced script written by French actor Jacques Tati in 1956.

The story is about an aging French magician in the 1950s, a character meant to resemble Tati himself, who travels across countries looking for a place to perform. He ends up in an isolated community in Scotland where he meets a young girl, Alice who is amazed by the illusionist’s magic tricks. As they journey across countries their relationship grows into one of a father and daughter.

The film’s voice actors include Jean-Claude Dondu and Edith Rankin.

Critics Say “The Way Back” is Oscar-Worthy

Newmarket Films’ The Way Back (PG-13) is about a group of multi-national prisoners during World War II who escape a Siberian gulag, traveling 4,000 miles across five countries. The story follows them through their epic journey across mountains and deserts as they battle the perils of nature and starvation.

The Way Back, based on Slawomir Rawiez’s memoir “The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom”,  is scheduled for limited release Dec. 29 in Los Angeles and will hit theatres everywhere else on January 21.

The film’s director Peter Weir also directed Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Dead Poets Society, and The Truman Show.

Director Peter Weir

Although Weir has not won an Academy Award for any of his films, critics say The Way Back has the Oscar-winning potential for best picture. Hopefully this film will be Weir’s breakthrough.

The film’s cast includes multiple acclaimed actors. Jim Sturgress known for his lead roles in 21 and Across the Universe;  Colin Farrell, who starred in The New World, Maimi Vice, and Alexander; Saoirse Ronan from The Lovely Bones and Atonement; Mark Strong from Sherlock Holmes and The Young Victoria; Copying Beethoven’s Ed Harris will all star in this film.

UConn’s Movie-Goers on the Latest Films

As a movie fanatic at the University of Connecticut, I took on the role of a roving reporter and asked students about the latest movies.

Let’s take a look at what movies students on UConn’s Storrs campus are watching and planning to see!

‘Simpsons’ Developer Produces his Sixth Film

Sony Pictures’ How Do You Know, scheduled for release Dec. 17, is about a 27 year old professional softball player who gets caught up in a love triangle between her major league pitcher boyfriend and a cooperate executive.

The romantic comedy is written and directed by Academy Award winning director James L. Brooks, developer of The Simpsons television series. Brooks also directed Spanglish, Broadcast News, The Simpsons Movie, and As Good as It Gets.

Legendary Director James L. Brooks

How Do You Know stars Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson. But one cast member is no stranger to Brooks. In 1997 Jack Nicholson won an Oscar in Brook’s hit film As Good as It Gets.

Mark Walhberg Plays 80’s Boxing Champ in Biopic Film

If you’ve already seen Million Dollar Baby, Rocky Balboa, Cinderella Man, and are looking for a new film to inspire you to literally fight off life’s difficulties, you don’t want to miss this one.

Paramount Picture’s The Fighter, scheduled for wide release Dec. 17, is a true story about the life of boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward and his half-brother Dickie Eklund who trains him to become a professional boxer in the 1980s. Ward dreams of making enough money to support his daughter through boxing as Eklund’s detrimental drug addiction spoils the two brothers’ relationship. The story follows Eklund and Ward as they fight to get their both their lives back on track.

The real "Irish" Mickey Ward

The Fighter is directed by David Russell and stars Mark Wahlberg as Ward and Christian Bale as Eklund. According to IMDb, this will be Russell and Wahlberg’s third film collaboration after Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees.

The cast also includes Amy Adams and Jack McGee.

Touchstone Pictures turns Shakespeare’s Last Play into a Dynamic Film

If you haven’t read or seen The Tempest, you would be surprised to learn that this Shakespearean play is as magical and imaginative as the Harry Potter series.

Touchstone Pictures The Tempest (PG-13) will combine the same elements of romance, fantasy and drama present in Shakespeare’s whimsical playwright on Dec 10.

The Tempest, which is believed to be the last play Shakespeare has ever written, is about Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, whose jealous brother Antonio, banishes him and his young daughter to a deserted island. After 12 years of exile Prospero uses magic and manipulation to conjure up a storm that will lead Anton and King Alanso of Naples to the Island. Hoping for his daughter to marry the right man, Prospero manipulates his daughter into liking Alanso’s son, Ferdinand. But after he sees that they have fallen in love too quickly, he forces Ferdinand to become his servant.

The film’s  writer and director Julie Taymor, who also directed Across the Universe, has incorporated her own visionary craft and spin on the renowned play.

Prospero will instead be a female named Propersa played by Helen Mirren. The Tempest also stars Russell Brand, Alfred Molina, Djimon Hounsou, Felicity Jones and Chris Cooper.

 

The film industry has always been a little shaky in producing films off of Shakespeare plays. Just like the 1996 film Romeo and Juliet, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, the dialogue in the Tempest will be purely in Shakespearean iambic pentameter.

Critic Desson Howe of the Washington Post said Romeo and Juliet lost its relevance to the play because it was over-stylized.  Howe said, “The tragedy of this movie is not that the lovers might perish from poison, it’s that they’re innocent victims of stylistic overkill.”

This can only mean The Tempest will be either a straight-out win or fail in the critics’ eyes.

Let’s hope it’s a win!

Unstoppable Rolls into Theatres

If you’re looking for an action-thriller that may not be a train wreck check out 20th Century Fox’s Unstoppable (PG-13) on Nov. 12.

Unstoppable, directed by Tony Scott, is about an engineer and a conductor who risk their lives trying to stop an unmanned, half-mile long train, carrying poisonous gas and explosive chemicals before it destroys an entire city.

The film is said to be loosely inspired by the unmanned train incident that occured in Ohio in 2001, where trainmaster Jon Hosfeld and transportation workers were able to stop a runaway freight train carrying thousands of gallons of highly hazardous chemicals. CNN reported that after two hours, engineers were able to slow the train down as Hosfeld was able to jump on a stop it.

The cast includes Chris Pine known for his role in Star Trek, Denzel Washington, Kevin Dunn, Rosario Dawson, and Kevin Chapman.

Get Inspired with New Movie Costumes!

New costumes influenced by this year’s successful films have become widely available at costume stores across the nation.  

In spirit of Halloween, here’s a collection of 2010’s new movie costumes:

Avatar

Alice In Wonderland

 

Clash of the Titans

 

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

A Nightmare on Elm Street 

Jonah Hex

 

The Karate Kid 

 The Last Airbender

 

Iron Man II

Two Renowned Actors Star in an Action-Packed Comedy

If your looking for a fresh, new adventure film that will keep you on the edge of your seat with two of the greatest actors of all time, look no further. 

Sony Picture’s The Tourist, released Dec. 10, will star both Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp together for the first time in this comedy-action thriller.  

The film is a remake of the 2005 French film “Anthony Zimmer”.

The Tourist about an American tourist, Frank (Depp), who travels to Italy and meets an English woman, Elise (Jolie),  on the train. Elise uses Frank in order to mislead those following her for her former lover, who is a wanted criminal. As the romance unfolds between the two, they realize they are being used as pawns in a dangerous scheme.  

The movie was filmed both in in Paris and Venice.

The Tourist also stars Paul Bettany, Rufus Sewell, Timothy Dalton, and Steven Berkoff.

Director of Slumdog Millionaire Produces Another Triumphant Film

James Franco (left) plays Aron Ralston (right)

Imagine being trapped under a rock in the middle of Utah for nearly a week without food, water, or another soul in sight. 

Now imagine amputating your arm in order to survive.

This was the case for American climber Aron Ralston.

Fox Searchlight’s 127 Hours (rated R) is based on the true story of Aron Ralston, who was forced to amputate his own arm after being trapped under a bolder for five days.

127 Hours, scheduled for limited release Nov. 5, is written and directed by Danny Bolye, who directed the 8 academy award winning film, Slumdog Millionaire.

Just like Slumdog Millionaire it is a story about survival and independence.

It stars James Franco as Ralston, as he battles some nature’s most fatal conditions and resorts to desperate measures to ensure his own life.

Joe Margentsern from The Wall Street Journal calls  James Francosimply terrific” in this film.

The film also stars Amber Tamblyn, from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and Kate Mara and Lizzy Caplan.